Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/5/2020 (334 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Do you enjoy stories with a hint of dark magic, spells that threaten to trap you into a world of ancient sorcery? Then The Egyptian Mirror (Pajama Press, 288 pages, $24) by acclaimed Toronto author Michael Bedard is the book for you.
Bedard is best known for his book Redwork, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award. Here he blends historical fiction with the occult in a fantastic tale for ages 9-12 about an Egyptian mirror which has imprisoned the soul, or "ka," of an aging sorcerer.
When 13-year-old Simon makes friends with his elderly neighbour, a retired archeologist with a passion for collecting mirrors, he sets off a dangerous series of events.
Bedard builds a feeling of impending disaster that threatens Simon and his friend Abbey as they watch a strange woman and an unfriendly black dog move into the old man’s home.
Can Simon find the enchanted mirror and release the spirit before it destroys him?
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Book clubs, soccer clubs, art clubs — schools have endless choices. What about a club for kids who have had to move from far away?
The Homesick Club (Groundwood, 32 pages, $18), by Colorado author Libby Martinez and aimed at children ages 4-7, is exactly that; this picture book will appeal to any child who has had to move to a new location.
Monica is from Bolivia and her friend Hanna is from Israel. When they get a new teacher from Texas, they ask her to join their club, and Monica makes a delicious hummingbird cake, the teacher’s favourite. (The recipe is included.)
Martinez spent several years living in Spain, and may have wished for a "homesick club" of her own.
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Have you ever heard of a Tasmanian Tiger? Believed to be extinct since 1936, these large mammals with tiger-like stripes were hunted remorselessly in Australia until they took refuge on the remote island of Tasmania.
In Music for Tigers (Pajama Press, 192 pages, $23) Toronto writer Michelle Kadarusman suggests how a single tiger might have survived, and created an incredible experience for a girl from Canada.
Louisa is sent from Toronto to spend the summer with an eccentric uncle in rural Tasmania. Passionate about her violin playing, she feels uneasy and lonely until she hears rumours of a tiger sighting on the nearby haunted island called Convict Rock. Faced with the imminent destruction of the rock as well as her uncle’s camp, Louisa finds an unexpected purpose for her music.
Kadarusman grew up in Australia and undoubtedly has heard rumours of modern-day sightings of this elusive creature. It makes for a good story in an unusual setting. Written for readers 8-12 years of age, especially animal lovers.
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Going Up! by Toronto author Sherry J. Lee (Kids Can Press, 40 pages, $20) is an attractive picture book for youngest readers (preschool to Grade 2). A variation on a counting book, kids will enjoy turning to the next number to see what happens next.
Sophie and her dad are invited to Olive’s birthday party on the 10th floor of their apartment building. As the elevator rises from floor to floor a wide variety of their neighbours get on: from bikers to musicians, whole families, single seniors and even a couple of dogs.
Anticipation increases as we wonder who will get on next and how they’ll find a spot. It’s a good reminder of the diversity of our country.
Much of the fun comes from the large and witty illustrations by Charlene Chuza, a Hamilton artist who grew up in Singapore where "she got used to squeezing into an elevator with many other people."
Helen Norrie is a local writer who has had lots of time recently to catch up on reading.